Conspiracy in Criminal Law

Conspiracy occurs between two person, but the difference between conspiracy and the conduct of a person is that the conduct was executed, while conspiracy was a plot that was not executed. Let’s dive in deeper, and learn all about conspiracy!

Essentially, conspiracy is where two persons plot a scheme to murder, or prosecute someone knowing that they did not commit a crime. Conspiracy is not only limited to the above-mentioned elements. There are different versions of conspiracy within the Criminal Law of Canada.

Lets start with the most common clause in which one might get charged with. We will be looking at Section 465 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Section 465 (1a)

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, in sub-subsection 1a, it states:

“(a) every one who conspires with any one to commit murder or to cause another person to be murdered, whether in Canada or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a maximum term of imprisonment for life; “

This means that if there was an agreement between two individuals to commit murder, then they will be guilty of an indictable offence. Their penalty will be according to the provisions set out by the Criminal Code, but generally, the penalty will be really harsh.

Conspiracy doesn’t apply if an individual says no, while the other side agrees to it. If the individual who has agreed and tried to commit murder, then they will not be charged with conspiracy; instead, they will be charged with attempted murder.

Section 465 (1b)

The next section that we will be covering is quite interesting. This offence may have not came across their head, but it has very serious penalties.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, in sub-subsection 1b, it states:

“(b) every one who conspires with any one to prosecute a person for an alleged offence, knowing that they did not commit that offence, is guilty of;”

Lets analyze this. All parties who are involved with an individual who conspires to prosecute a person. Wait, so it is illegal to prosecute someone? Let’s clear the doubt in the air. It is illegal to prosecute someone while knowing that they are innocent and did not commit the crime. Sometimes crowns may mistakenly try to prosecute the wrong individual. The Crown tries to prosecutes the defendant because the government has arrested the defendant based on evidence. However, if new evidence arises, then it exonerates the defendant and places the correct criminal on trial.

The punishment for this sub-subsection is different from the rest. If you are found guilty of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, then you are guilty of an indictable offence and your sentence may not exceed 10 years. On the contrary, if you are found guilty of conspiracy to commit a summary conviction, then they are guilty of an indictable offence and their sentence may not exceed 5 years. Here comes the best part. If you committed conspiracy while you were on conviction, then you will be sentenced to imprisonment for life or an extra 10 years is added to the time you are serving.

Section 465 (1c)

So, if we plot to commit other indictable offences that are mentioned in the Criminal Code of Canada, we cannot be charged? No, and you must never try to conspire any unlawful act. This even includes conspiring to achieve a lawful or an unlawful purpose by illegal means — bribes.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, in sub-subsection 1a, it states:

“c) every one who conspires with any one to commit an indictable offence not provided for in paragraph (a) or (b) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to the same punishment as that to which an accused who is guilty of that offence would, on conviction, be liable; “

If you conspire to commit an indictable offence that is not written and described in the above-mentioned paragraphs, then the punishments that are written above apply.

Section 465 (3) and (4)

You are not exempt from this law if you are resident in Canada, and commit the act outside Canadian borders. If you commit a conspiracy in another country, then you will be tried as if you have committed the conspiracy in Canada.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, in sub-subsection 1a, it states:

“(3) Every one who, while in Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in a place outside Canada that is an offence under the laws of that place shall be deemed to have conspired to do that thing in Canada.

(4) Every one who, while in a place outside Canada, conspires with any one to do anything referred to in subsection (1) in Canada shall be deemed to have conspired in Canada to do that thing.”

Some countries that have an extradition treaty signed with Canada are Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Costa Rice, the United States of America, and many more!

An agreement within international law states that a state or nation is not required to extradite a fugitive over to the requested state because a nation is legally responsible for all individuals within their borders. However, treaties require the state to hand over and complete the extradition process to the requested state (the state that asks for the fugitive to be tried in their homeland).

Conclusion

We hope that you understood what conspiracy is under the Canadian legal system. We, also, wish that you recognized that conspiracy mainly applies to indictable offences and is considered an indictable, but it also applies to summary conviction offences. Just a mere intention of a conspiracy does not create criminal liability if there was no agreement between two parties/entities. Stay tuned for our posts on Instagram (@nextgenlitigators) as we have two initiatives taking place. Ciao!

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